Monday, November 30, 2020

Jófríður’s Chicken

My favorite Icelandic chanteuse, Jófríður Ákadóttir, has released a new video.

It was shot in Australia, where she has been in Covid isolation.
I’m not going to subject this to critical appraisal: it speaks for itself.
It does feature a chicken which is always, in my mind at least, a noble gesture:

By Professor Batty

Comments: 2 

Friday, November 27, 2020

Wrap Up

This is chapter 52 of The Inheritance, a serial fiction novel on FITK

Early Friday Evening, November 27, 2020, Seattle

FBI Special Agent Marchal had requested a meeting with Sean, Mary, Jo, and Mareka for a follow-up to the events of the previous weekend. Sean suggested that he come to their place, specifically the garage which had been retro-fitted to minimize Covid exposure for the home school. Jo’s home school had taken the week off for the Thanksgiving Holiday, a fact which Jo was grateful for—her ribs were still sore and the bruises on her face from where she had been slugged was still visible. Agent Marchal was only too happy to oblige, he liked Mary and Sean, and looked forward to meeting their daughter. The five of them masked-up and went into the garage/school.

“Well I don’t have to tell you how glad I am to see all of you again,” began Marchal, “And how glad I am to meet you Mareka.”

“Hi,” said the girl, ”Pleased to meet you.”

“This is where you go to school, Mareka?” said Marchal.

“We have a lot of fun here,” said Mareka.

“And you are learning a lot, too,” said Sean, “Thanks to Jo.”

“Jo’s the best!” said Mareka, “Even the school people that give us our tests think so.”

“Jo has done a lot for us over the last eight years,” said Mary, “It would have been terrible to have lost her.”

“Thank you all,” said Jo, “You’ve helped me over and over again. I don’t have to say how much I appreciate what Mareka did for me last weekend. That was a very bad scene, I wouldn’t wish that kind of experience on anyone.”

“I came here to tell you what was the result of your bravery, Mareka,” said Marchal, “Mr. Stroud was a very bad man who happened to get caught up with group of other bad men. He had been recruited by a small gang of men who were trying to infiltrate the homeless community in a plot to control the distribution and sale of drugs as well as other illegal activities. They had found out that Mr. Sroud was Jo’s ex-husband and used this knowledge to get him to committ murder in exchange for telling him where Jo was staying. We broke up the gang, most of whom were here illegally. Because you are a minor, Mareka, the story of Mr. Stroud and his accomplices will not be released to the public. The murder of Barbara Merrit and her friend Marcel DuPage, will be told; Mr. Stroud’s death will be tied to it as a drug deal gone wrong. I understand that you Sean, and Mary have had dealings with those two in the past… ”

“As did I,” said Jo, “With Merrit about her ridiculous ‘exposé’ and I did speak with Mr. DuPage on one occasion as well. It’s horrible that they were murdered like that, evidently Stroud was going to kill me in the same way.”

“Yes, the syringe contained a lethal dose of Fentanyl, he planted the syringes that killed DuPage and Merrit to make it look like they had overdosed,“ said Marchal, “He would have probably gotten away with that if he hadn’t been stopped by Mareka here. How are you doing, Mareka?”

“I’m OK, ” said the girl, “It had to be done. Now Jo is safe, and a very bad man is gone.“

“Mareka has been questioned by a child psychologist,” said Mary, “She was very impressed with Mareka’s self-control. There will be a follow-up in a couple of weeks. We’ll keep an eye on her, of course.”

“Good.” Agent Marchal paused for a moment, ”In addition to the wrap-up, this is probably my good-bye to you as well. I’ll be retiring in a couple of months, once the new administration is in place. I won’t bore you with the details of how bad the last four years have been but I will say this: Most of this would have never happened if we never had the shabby political influence on the FBI that has happened on this case. That story may never be told.”

Later that evening Jo and Mary were talking with Mareka in her bedroom.

“It was nice that Agent Marchal visited us today,“ said Mary, “He’s one of the ‘good ones’.”

“I didn’t know that you guys knew each other,” said Mareka from her bed, “What does he know about our ‘family secrets?’”

“We’ve told him that Emily has channeled me, we told him not to take it too literally, that it might just be wishful thinking on my part, ” said Mary, ”He was cool with that, he didn’t want to explore anything that couldn’t be used in court.”

“And he certainly knew about me killing that intruder,” said Jo, In fact, I think he knows a lot more about that intruder than he’s telling.”

“He also knows about the other one, the man that was struck by lightning at Sean’s Aunt Tina,” said Mary, ”What he doesn’t know that I was responsible for that lightning bolt.”

Mareka thought about this for a while.

“So… the three of us, we’re all killers?” said Mareka.

“Yes, I guess that’s true,” said Jo, “Lord help the fool that tangles with us, sho.”

“All that is important now is that we are alive and together,” said Mary, “Here’s to The Sisterhood of Killers—bound to each other forever.”

“Amen to that sister!” said Jo.

“Amen,” said Mareka.

“Amen and good night,” said Mary, and she turned off the light.

Next Chapter: Yearning to Fly

By Professor Batty

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Ghost Corn

Anoka, Minnesota, November 13, 2020

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Monday, November 23, 2020


Last year I had the pleasure of seeing a Beatles tribute band playing in a neighborhood pub. They were doing Beatle songs in the order that they had been released:
They weren’t as youthful as the original “moptops”, but you wouldn’t know that by listening to them:
They had made it up to Rubber Soul by the time I had to leave:
Flaming Pie, Tim’s Tavern, Seattle

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Late Show

This is chapter 51 of The Inheritance, a serial fiction novel on FITK

Friday Evening, November 20, 2020, Seattle

Mareka and Jo were in the bedroom of Jo’s apartment. They were going through some of Jo’s childhood effects.

“Oh! Look at the time, our movie is going to be on in five minutes,” said Jo, “I’ll put some popcorn on. Will you put that stuff back in the box for me?”

“Okie-doke,” said Mareka. Jo went into the kitchen and Mareka lifted the box from the floor to the the couch where they had been looking at Jo’s albums, “This is heavier than it looks,” thought Mareka. She looked inside and saw, under a stack of large envelopes, the glint of a gun barrel.

The panel van smelled of tobacco and sweat.

John Stroud was in the back, sitting on some tarps with one of his Russian contacts. The other Russian was driving, it seemed to John that they were taking a circuitous route, perhaps it was to avoid traffic cams. Finally it came to a halt in a residential area. It was dark, evidently the street light was out.

“Come up here, Stroud,” said the driver, “You see the house with the yard light?”

Stroud grunted, “Yeah.”

“Good. There is a driveway in front of it, with a long hedge. The hedge will keep you hidden. Go left along the hedge until there is a gap with a path. The woman you want is in the small house at the end of the path. She lives alone, but there are neighbors nearby, so be as quiet as you can, and work as quickly as you can. Once again, when you are finished text us and we will pick you up here. Do you understand?“

“I’m good with it,” said Stroud, “Let me savor this one a little while.”

“Okay, but If you aren’t back here in fifteen minutes you’re on your own.”

A drug task force team was monitoring the tracer that had been placed in the Russian ‘goon squad’ van. The Seattle Police had been tracking John Stroud in relation to the recent overdose deaths that had plagued the city’s homeless population. They had been tipped off that he had been seen in the company of two ‘foreigners’—a couple of bad eggs that had been associated with a Russian “safe house” that had been supplying and sheltering agent provocateurs in the riots of the previous summer. They wanted to deport them to prevent any Russian influence in the drug scene in Seattle and had been trailing the van all night. When the goons dropped Stroud off at the ballroom they parked a short distance away and then picked him up a short while later. The police didn’t know if the ballroom building was were Stroud was scoring or if it was where he was dealing. That location would be dealt with later, but tonight they were more interested in seeing where Stroud and the Russians would lead them. When the goon’s van stopped in a residential area, far from Stroud’s usual haunts, they took action. Two of the undercover cops got out of the tracking car and set off on foot, following Stroud in the dark.

“Mareka, the popcorn is ready,” called Jo.

“I’ll be right there,” said Mareka.

A cacophony of caws suddenly erupted from the nesting crows outside the apartment.

“What on earth is riling them up?” said Jo, opening the front door and looking out.

“Inside, bitch,” hissed John Stroud as rushed in and pushed her back, “And keep your mouth shut or I’ll shut it for you.”

“Get out of h-,” said Jo as she received a punch to the face that sent her reeling.

“You never would listen, would you?” said Stroud, “Well you’re going to listen now.”

Jo was down on her hands and knees when Stroud kicked her in the side.

“Get out,” said Mareka, who had just entered the room, holding a stuffed toy bear.

“Oh ho! So you have a little nigger baby do you?” said Stroud, “Hey little girl, you‘re just in time to see me kick the shit out of your momma.”

“I said GET OUT.“

“Aren't you afraid? Cuz you better be,” said Stroud, taking out his syringe case and bending over Jo’s prone figure, ”When I’m through with your momma here, I’ll make you wish you’d never been born.“

”I’m not afraid of you,” said the girl.

“Mareka, run out the back,” said Jo, gasping, ”He’ll kill us both.”

“GET OUT!” Mareka said, dropping the bear, revealing the handgun that she had found in Jo’s effects.

“You little shit!” said Stroud.

He got up and lunged at the child, crossing the room to get where Mareka was standing.

He received two bullets in his torso and one in the head for his trouble.

“I’m not afraid of you,” said Mareka as she watched him fall to the floor.

The crow chorus outside increased again as two policemen came rushing in the front door, guns drawn.

“POLICE!” they shouted, “What’s going on here?

“He was going to kill us,” said Mareka, putting down her gun and pointing to Stroud on the floor, “I wouldn’t let him.”

“Shots fired. Suspect is down and incapacitated,” said one of the policemen into his radio.

The other one examined Stroud at gunpoint. Stroud was sucking air through two holes in his chest and then coughed up a large mass of blood. He was still holding the syringe when he shuddered and then went still.

“Are you hurt, ma’am? Do you know this man?” said the officer who was talking on the radio.

“He’s my ex. He was going to kill us. I’m banged up, but he’s beaten me worse than that before.”

“Subject has gunshot wounds to his body and head and appears to have expired. Recommend apprehension of accomplices before EMT services arrive. Situation here is under control. There is also one woman down, may need medical assistance and one child apparently unharmed.”

“Roger, we're closing in on the van now.”

The officer who had been examining Stroud turned to Mareka.

“I’m officer Nelson, I’m here to help you. What’s your name, are you OK, is this your mother?”

The crows outside increased their clamoring.

“I’m her mother,” said Mary, who had just walked in with Sean, “We heard shots.”

“We live in the main house, Jo is a family friend and Mareka’s governess,” said Sean.

“Is there anybody else here?” asked the officer who was with Mareka.

“This is all of us, Jo lives here,” said Mary, “Mareka lives with Sean and me in the main house.”

“We’ve been tracking Mr. Stroud here as well as his accomplices, there is active police activity in the area. I’m going to ask you to stay put until the all clear.”

Just then the radio crackled: “Suspects apprehended without incident. EMTs are on the way.”

“Okay. Since this is a crime scene, I’m going to ask that you all leave, are you able to walk, Ms?”

"Nothing broken,” Said Jo.

“We’ll be in the kitchen, in the main house,“ said Mary, “Through the patio doors, where the lights are on. You’ll want statements?”

“That’s correct.”

Next Chapter: Wrap Up

By Professor Batty

Friday, November 20, 2020

Wild Nights

This is chapter 50 of The Inheritance, a serial fiction novel on FITK
Friday Evening, November 20th, 2020, Seattle

Sean, Mary, Mareka and Jo were eating dinner.

“The crows are really raucous tonight,“ said Mary, “I think they plan on roosting in the trees by the creek. Are they here to see you, Mareka?”

“My pals! I did give a wave to some this afternoon,”said the girl.

“Usually a change in animal behavior is the sign of some disturbance in the natural world, said Mary, “Is there anything going on that I should know about?”

“They’re working on that pier that sank, and removing what’s left of the old Alaskan Way,” said Sean, “But none of that should affect the crows. Usually they head over to Kenmore at dusk.”

“What have you got planned for this evening, Mareka?” said Mary.

“Jo and I are going to look over some pictures and stuff she has from when she was young.”

“That’s right, I’ve been telling her about my girlhood and there are some photo albums and a scrapbook I got from my mother’s house. The movie channel is going to show a Cary Grant movie about him being stranded on a tropical island with a bunch of school girls and their teacher… Father Goose, it was a favorite of mine when I was nine. I wore out a VHS tape of it. We can have popcorn too, if you like.”

“I like, I like.”

Barbara Merrit and Marcel DuPage were partaking of a candlelit dinner in Marcel’s apartment above his dance studio/ballroom.

The couple’s previous week had been one of exploration, as much psychological as physical. Barbara had found Marcel to be, under his flamboyant personality, a kind person and a generous lover. Marcel was taken with Barbara’s intensity, understandable in light of her now abandoned quest to make sense of her brother’s death.

“Now what?” said Barbara, “Now that you’ve destroyed all my hang-ups? I am woman, hear me roar!”

“I’m equally wrecked, my kitten,” Marcel said with a laugh, “When that Covid vaccine finally arrives we’ll go see the world. Until then we’ll just have to settle for this little patch of paradise, just us.”

“I’m swimming in the thought of ‘us’, oh, Marcel, you have made me so happy.”

“Dessert now, or later?” said Marcel, glacing toward the bedroom door.

“Later. Rowwr.”

John Stroud stood across the street from Marcel DuPage’s studio building. He had beeen casing the place for nearly a week but Barbara Merrit had yet to show her face. Marcel had been down to receive deliveries of food and mail, but didn’t venture from the door to the apartments. There were eight units in the building, the Russians had given Stroud a diagram showing where Dupage lived, with Merrit, they assured him that she was definitely staying there—they had placed a bug in her computer. The Russians had also told him how to jimmy the outside security door and had given him a passkey they had made from a copy of one of the other tenants key they had ‘borrowed’ while the tenant was at a bar. All Stroud had to do was to let himself in, and surprise them with two special syringes filled with lethal doses of Fentanyl.

Piece of cake.

Mareka and Jo were in Jo’s guesthouse apartment, looking through the box of things that Jo had brought back from her mother’s house. The photo albums had a story or two on every page, Mareka was entranced.

“Were you happy then? You look like you were happy in these pictures,” said Mareka, “Or were you sad sometimes?”

“I was happy when I was younger. When I got to high school, not so much. The other kids were mean, not just to me, but to each other, too.”

“Why were they mean?”

“I don’t really know. We were all pretty much the same, city kids, nobody was rich, just ordinary kids. It was like there was a Covid virus then except for meaness. Everybody caught it. I had it too.”

“What happened after you graduated?”

“I worked with some midwives, helping mothers have their babies. I did that for several years. Then I met John. He was handsome, funny, I thought he was cool. We got married.”

“You were happy then, right?”

“Not very long. I found out that I married a drug addict and dealer. All he cared about was drugs. When he didn’t get his way he’d take it out on me. I left him, got a divorce, and a restraining order, so that he had to stay away from me.”

“Did he stay away?”

“No, he came back and beat me. That’s when I left Spokane, that’s when I met your folks.”

“Is that man ever coming back?”

“I hope not,” Jo paused, “Mareka, did you know that I killed a man?”

“No. When was that? Was that scary?”

“It happened after I first settled in Seattle. I was in bed and I woke up and heard noises in the kitchen, and then footsteps coming down the hall. I thought it was John. I had a gun and when the man came into my bedroom and on my bed I shot him.”

“Who was it?”

“The police said it was someone looking for someone else, someone that used to live where I was staying. He was never identified.”

“I didn’t know you were so brave.”

“I wasn’t brave, I just didn’t want to live in fear anymore.”

John Stroud was in.

The Russians were good. The door the Marcel’s building jimmied open just the way they said it would and the passkey they gave him worked like a charm. In Marcel’s apartment Stroud could hear sounds of love-making coming from down the hallway that started at the door. He walked calmly toward the bedroom. Its door was open. The lights were out in the room, but he could see the lovers silhouetted by the window shades. Barbara was on top, her hair hanging down. The figure beneath, Marcel, no doubt. He stepped quietly up and deftly inserted the first syringe into Barbara’s carotid artery. Barbara gasped and convulsed while Marcel, his eyes closed, began to groan. Stroud used the second syringe on him in the same way. Marcel shuddered and heaved as Barbara fell onto him.

Stroud waited until he was sure they were both dead before placing a syringe in the hand of each victim.

The Russians had said they’d bring him to his final destination after the first hit was complete. Stroud took out his burner phone and texted the Russians. They replied that they would be in front of the apartment in two minutes.

John Stroud smiled. The night was young.

Next chapter: Late Show

By Professor Batty

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Video Madness

Since it appears that we are going to be in for a long, hard winter, here are some terrifying obscure music videos for your edification:

And, finally, one terrifingly great vid:

By Professor Batty

Comments: 3 

Monday, November 16, 2020

Tony Glover Auction

There was recently an auction featuring the late Tony Glover’s personal memorabilia and effects. Tony was a member of the very influential trio Koerner Ray and Glover, a fine writer and excellent blues harmonica player. The Rolling Stone obit has a good overview of his life. The auction includes a lot of his original interview tapes as well as correspondence (with Bob Dylan and other notables), promotional materials he had collected, and even some of his guitars (see below.) The Dylan-related items alone went for well over $200,000, not bad for stuff his wife had thought was “junk” and wanted to throw away. The grand total was $495,000.

I had spoken with Tony a couple of times and had once given him a CD of one of his performances with the Minneapolis band The Wallets which he seemed pleased to get. ‘Pleased’ is a relative term when describing Mr. Glover, his sometimes testy demeanor kept him apart from other musicians in the Minnesota music scene.

A true original, his contributions to modern music were subtle but deep.

Here is the link to a list of his record collection (which includes an album I produced for The Explodo Boys).

My favorite item in the auction is this Kawai ST-4 guitar (Hound Dog Taylor model):

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Friday, November 13, 2020

Under Observation

This is chapter 49 of The Inheritance, a serial fiction novel on FITK

Friday Evening, November 13, 2020, Seattle

Barbara Merrit and Marcel DuPage had finally scheduled a time for the consummation of their relationship.

It was the result of a bargaining session over brunch. Barbara wanted to suss out if Marcel’s infatuation with Emily Carroll was really over and Marcel was wrestling with the hitherto implausible idea of his settling down to a commitment. They agreed to wait a week, ‘Just to be certain.’ Tonight was the night.

“It’s a game where surrender is the only way to win,” said Barbara, as they entered her bedroom. Pointing to the bed she said: “Upon this soft cushion I will deploy my limbs.”

“’Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished,” said Marcel with a wink, “Two can play at poetics.”

“To die, to sleep… to sleep… perchance to dream; aye, there’s the rub… ” she said, “Let’s make it the small death and sleep can wait until later… after we know each other better, with bare bodkins. Shall we proceed?” Barbara took off her blouse and pulled Marcel close to her.

Aye, there’s the rub,” said Marcel, eyes glistening.

”There will be no crying in this bed… “ said Barbara as she stepped out of her skirt, “… at least not until your spanking.”

“Spanking?” he said, “Not until after we know each other much better!”

“With bare bodkins,” she purred, loosening the belt on Marcel’s bathrobe.

“I surrender, dear,” he said.

In the Denny Park tent encampment, John Stroud was looking for a place to crash. He had been sleeping rough since the OD death of one of his customers a week ago. The police knew of his activities, only the heavy rain of the last couple of days had prevented them from conducting a thorough search. He still had customers, so money wasn’t a problem, but he had been put on a watch list for area motels. He could still use his Orca card, but that would only get him so far, and they were patrolled as well. He also had the feeling that he was being followed, his paranoia was growing. He had also struck out with every one in the camp. There was loosely organized gang that had staked a claim to the park and word had gotten out that he was persona non grata there. He was about to leave when two men approached him.

“Mr. Stroud, yes?” said the shorter of the two. He had a definite accent thought Stroud.

“Who wants to know?”

“There’s no need to be testy, Mr. Stroud,” said the taller man, “We’re here to help you.”

“What’s the catch?”

“Let’s discuss this over dinner, shall we?” said the shorter man, ”You haven’t yet eaten, I presume?”

Stroud was hungry and something about these goons struck him as being in a class above the usual rip-off artists that plagued the streets. It takes one to know one, so the saying went.

“O.K. I am Stroud, and I am hungry, let’s go.”

“There’s a Chipotle on Westlake, it’s just a couple of blocks,” said the taller man, “It’s reopened for dining, the dinner rush should be over so we won’t have to wait. You do have a mask, don’t you?“

Stroud pulled up his bandanna and nodded.

Mary was talking with Mareka, who had just gotten into bed.

“So, another week of school is over,” said Mary, “Are you any smarter?”

“Way much, Mo-mah. I got a perfect score in my math and reading and I only missed one word in spelling.”

“What word was that?”

“But. I spelled it with two t’s. It’s funnier that way.”

Mary smiled. It was her favorite word when she was seven as well.

“How are your classmates doing?”

“Good. Benny is funny. Jack is nice. Sara is… ”

Mareka paused to search for the best word.

“Sara is… “ Mareka paused again, “She’s different, she’s… my bestie.”

“I know that,” said Mary, “It’s good to have a friend like that.“

Mareka paused again. Finally, she spoke:

Mo-mah?, You know our family secret, the powers, and Emily?”


“She has some too,“ continued Mareka, “I mean not the same as I do, but sort of like mine. She knew when her father was dead.

Marydid know and she had spoken with Sara’s mother about the Halloween incident. Sean had spoken with Sara’s grandfather. Premonitions were one thing, but real-time ESP was rare. Sara, although saddened by her father’s death, seemed unbothered by having the knowledge of it. She would be a child to watch, regardless of her status in the home-school.

“Some things can’t be explained,” said Mary, “But you don’t have to worry about this.”

“We have been watching you, Mr. Stroud.”

John Stroud and the two ‘goons’ were sitting in a booth in the South Lake Union Chipotle, eating burritos. Stroud’s paranoia had been accurate again, but this time he didn’t feel threatened.

“Well, I certainly appreciate the meal,“ said Stroud, “But I assume this is not a free lunch?”

“Let’s be honest here,” said the taller of the two men, “You are good at what you do, you’ve been able to elude the police in situations where a lesser individual would have lost his nerve and been exposed. As you may have guessed from our accents, we are foreigners, strangers in this strange land as it were. Since the recent election we will lose our previous immunity and must now leave the country.”

“Okay… ”

“But we have a couple of scores to settle, and need someone who is discreet, efficient and motivated.”

“What’s my motivation?”

“You have met with Barbara Merrit, is that not so?”

“The reporter, yeah. No motivation needed there. A bitch. What is the other score?”

“Jo Sanford, nee Stroud.”

“I’m really motivated now. What’s the payoff?”

“A new ID and $10,000 cash, half payable in advance.”

“What M.O.?”

The shorter goon spoke up:

”You’ve already have the means. A simple injection of 4 or 5 milligrams of Fentanyl will easily take care of a non-user. You know both of these women and should be able to approach them with relative ease.”

“I don’t know where to find them.”

“We do. Oh… and Mr. Stroud… don't try anything funny. We’ll be watching you.”

Next chapter: Wild Nights

By Professor Batty

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Virtual Iceland Airwaves - III

One last look back at 2018…

Jóhanna Elísa string section:

By Professor Batty

Comments: 2 

Monday, November 09, 2020

Virtual Iceland Airwaves - II

Passionate performances

Between Mountains:
Liva Mo:
All from 2018.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 0 

Friday, November 06, 2020


This is chapter 48 of The Inheritance, a serial fiction novel on FITK
Friday Morning, November 6, 2020, Seattle

Mary Robinson was sitting in a board meeting being held in the futuristic Amasales conference building in downtown Seattle.

Mary had sold her internet security firm ADR to the internet retailing colossus eight years previously and the stocks shares she had received then were due to be vested today. At the time, such a long period before vesting was considered a poor choice by her financial advisors, the memories of the stock busts in 1999 and 2008 were still fresh in their minds. The share prices had grown 800% since then and Mary’s bold gamble was about to be rewarded. She had been a non-voting member of the Amasales board during that time and, although she knew that it had been public-image move on the executives part to have a black woman listed on the board, she wondered what her future, if any, with the firm would be now. After the routine business had been dealt with, the CFO got up to speak.

“It is with pleasure that I am announcing the vesting of ten thousand Amasales shares to Mary Robinson, whose faith in the long-term of our business has been justly rewarded. Mary’s contributions to the security of our communication chains here is the major reason we haven’t been plagued with the disruptions of many of our competitors. In addition, her ‘apotropaic magic’, while not readily quantifiable, has enabled Amasales to have quarterly year-to-year gains that have exceeding the industry average. Now that the vesting is complete, any further obligations Mary may have to Amasales are finished as well. Thank you, Mary.”

The assembled group rose en masse and applauded and the CFO motioned that she should speak. Mary stood up and began to address the assembled group.

“Well, this is an unexpected honor,” she began, “In this era of disinformation and negativity, it is more important than ever that sound business practices prevail. My contributions to the field of security have always been with this in mind. While lying and deception may work in the short-term, in the long run they self-destruct and result in destruction and chaos. As for any ‘apotropaic magic’ I may possess, I will say only this: Each of us must live with ourselves in accordance with principles based on truth. Those of you who know of my ‘other life’ is that of a proponent of what may be loosely described as the ‘old religion’. Rest assured that any ‘magic’ the spells and affirmations I may espouse in that capacity are also based on these basic principles.”

Mary sat down to more applause.

“Thank God that’s over,” she thought, “At least one situation in my life is finally resolved!

In the home school the children had finished taking their monthly progress tests supplied by the school district to insure that the children were proceeding on track with their studies. The local school had sent a counselor to proctor the test-giving and to see if the facilities were suitable for home classes. They had a special interest in Sara, whose father had recently died from a drug overdose. She had evidently recovered from that incident with no behavioral issues and seemed to be well adjusted to the situation and to her classmates. The counselor was also more than a little envious of Jo’s home school in that it seemed perfectly suited for the needs of its students. It was obvious to him that there was a lot of intelligence (and no small amount of love) invested in the situation. He left with the tests and a glad heart.

Noticing that Sara had grown closer to Mareka, Jo thought that Sara’s intuition of her father’s death had affected both the girls. Mareka now realized that Sara was someone who shared her paranormal gifts and they had spent more time together after class. Jo was glad that any potential crisis with Sara had been resolved, especially in light of the proctor’s visit. That still left the question mark of John Stroud, her abusive ex. While his name hadn’t been mentioned concerning the overdose death of Sara’s father, Jo thought it was likely that he was responsible and that he was still in the area.

One day at a time,” she thought, “One day at a effing time.

Barbara Merrit and Marcel DuPage were lingering over brunch in Marcel’s apartment.

It had become obvious to both of them that they were ‘falling in love again’ to quote the old Marlene Dietrich song. They had yet to consummate the affair. Each they became close Barbara could sense Marcel pulling away. Was he afraid of commitment, of disappointment, or was he still in love with the memory of Emily Carroll?

Marcel was wrestling with conflicting emotions as well. He was not the Lothario of eight years previous. He had quit his womanizing after Emily disappeared and since the Covid crisis had erupted in March he had had very little contact with any woman—excepting Barbara. He had even begun to have doubts about his masculinity. His recent sixtieth birthday had triggered in him a wave of self-doubt. He was changing, he knew that much.

“Marcel, it’s time we had the talk,” said Barbara, “We’re adults, and we’re both experienced, very experienced in your case. What’s holding you back? Is it me?”

Marcel’s usual cheery countenance dropped for a split-second, then returned.

“No, dear Barbara, it isn’t you,” he began, “It’s… it’s just that… ” here he paused, “I’m not the man I used to be. I never had any regrets about any of the women I knew. It wasn’t that I wished them ill, no I never was into that, it’s just that I was living in a bit of a dream world. I thought my amorous activities were welcome by my partners, and generally they were. I was too flamboyant for any of them to take me seriously in a long term relationship. And that was alright with me, that was one of the reasons I opened the dance studio and ballroom, so that they would come to me, I could gave those women an obligation-free opportunity. Did I break some hearts? I may have dented a few, I’ll admit to that. Now that I’m older, things are not as they used to be.”

“What changed?” asked Barbara, “Was it Emily?”

“Yes, I had finally met my match,” said Marcel, lowering his head and beginning to cry as he blubbered, “And then I lost her.”

“Marcel… ” Barbara spoke softly to the weeping man as she took his hand in hers. “The time for crying is over. Emily is gone and I am here, ready to take this relationship further. My eyes are wide open, we are equals. We can do this thing. The future is ours to make.”

Marcel stopped sobbing. He sat up and a slight convulsion shook his frame. He looked Barbara in the eye.

“You are right. The past is over,” he said, “Take me as I am, no reservations, and I will do the same for you.”

Next chapter: Under Observation

By Professor Batty

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

Virtual Iceland Airwaves - I

Like so many things these days, Iceland Airwaves is virtual only this year. In that spirit, I offer up some images from the last Iceland Airwaves (2018) that I attended:

Sóley og faðir hennar:
Íris, Grúska Babúska:
Karólina, Gróa:

By Professor Batty

Comments: 2 

Monday, November 02, 2020

My Foot is in the Door

The professor’s alter-ego has a picture in the 2020 Minneapolis Institute of Arts Foot in the Door Exhibition. Held every ten years, this year’s version is all virtual, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. Good, in that many people who otherwise might not have otherwise gotten in can be seen, bad, in that the formatting of the show is awkward—it is hard to go back and forth between the overall scroll and the close up of an individual work. Once you “zoom in” on a selection, when you click back you go to the the start, not to where you left off. In addition, the scroll pages are segregated by type, no painting with photos, for an example. A clumsy but doable work around is to change the last number in the url of the site to get to other works.

My old pal Nicole has one of her Barbie pics in as well.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 1 

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